Ample Bites loves both eggplant parmesan and veal parmesan. The recipe below is written for eggplant but you can easily adapt it to veal by replacing the eggplant with eight thinly-sliced veal cutlets, pounded flat. Or, crazy as this might sound, do half eggplant and half veal by replacing one of the eggplants with four cutlets. Whichever way you do it … you can’t go wrong.
The keys to this dish are making your own marinara sauce and using fresh mozzarella. Resist the temptation to buy a canned sauce and make your own it is really easy and you can do it while the eggplant is salted.
(Mark Kelly, 2013)
Serves 4 to 6
2 medium eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
5 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
Canola oil for frying
6 large eggs, beaten
Extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 cup grated Parmesan, divided
1 lb fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
For Marinara Sauce:
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ medium onion, diced (about 1/3 cup)
5 cloves garlic, chopped
7 cups whole, peeled canned tomatoes in puree (about two 28 oz. cans), roughly chopped
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs basil
1 Tbsp Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
To make the marinara sauce: Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and garlic, stirring, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the herb sprigs and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
Remove and discard the herbs. Stir in the salt and season with pepper. Using an immersion blender break up the tomatoes and blend to a smooth consistency.
Use immediately, or refrigerate, covered for up to three days, or freeze for up to two months.
To make the eggplant parmesan: Arrange the eggplant on baking sheets and sprinkle generously with salt. Set aside to let the juices weep from the eggplant, about 1 hour.
Transfer the eggplant to a colander in the sink and rinse well under cold water. Transfer the eggplant to work surface and blot with paper towels.
In a large bowl, whisk together the breadcrumbs, oregano, thyme and season with salt and pepper.
In a large Dutch oven, pour oil to a depth of about ½-inch. Heat oil over medium heat until it reaches 400F.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Place the breadcrumbs in a rimmed dish large enough to hold two eggplant rounds at a time. Working in batches, fry the eggplant rounds, turning once, until golden brown, about 3 minutes per batch. Using tongs, transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Repeat with the remaining eggplant.
Lightly brush a two 15 x 10 x 2-inch baking dishes with olive oil. Cover the bottom of the baking dishes with marinara sauce and arrange the eggplant rounds, in a single layer, in each dish. Scatter the Parmesan over the eggplant and then place two slices of mozzarella on top of each eggplant round. Pour marinara sauce around the eggplant until the it is roughly even with the top of each slice. Reserve the remaining marinara.
Bake until the cheese is just beginning to brown, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately with reheated reserved marinara sauce.
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